NORTHWICH meet one of the few sides to have beaten them this season when they return to action on Saturday.

Douglas are one of the surprise packages in North One West to date, and travel from Isle of Man to Cheshire two points adrift of Blacks in the table.

They are also the only team to have inflicted a defeat on title-favourites Vale of Lune.

For that reason, director of rugby Martin Poste is wary.

He said: “I’m not sure many would have predicted they would be where they are.

“It’s another test for us, and we must be ready.”

Blacks start a New Year buoyed by probably their best month of the campaign during December.

They registered back-to-back wins at Stockport and Warrington – both of them rivals for promotion.

The men from Moss Farm sit second in the standings as a result.

However there is much still to do.

“There’s a long way to go,” said Poste.

“To reach this part of the season in second spot and still with a game in hand at home to the team currently bottom of the table is obviously a good position to be in.

“It will be even better if we can win that game and put clear water between ourselves and those behind us.

“Even that guarantees nothing; look at the table and how tight it is – there are perhaps five or six sides all capable of taking points off each other.

“Douglas are one of them.”

Blacks lost 36-24 when the teams met in in September, returning home with a bonus-point.

However they have an unblemished record in front of their own supporters to date this season, winning each of their four games at Moss Farm.

Wilmslow were the last team to leave as victors in a league fixture, and that was more than a year ago.

Kick-off tomorrow is at 2.15pm.